|The prototype WF2 printout system as reconstructed in May 2000 from the recovered parts.|
As the Bureau moved into the 1970's, a reduction in staff numbers meant that the Observer often was required to perform simple office duties whilst sitting in the WF2 radar tracking the balloon. A telephone in was installed in the WF2 cabin so they could answer calls to the Met station during the flight. This was seen as one of many distractions from the accurate transcription of radar co-ordinates. So it was thought that the addition of an automatic printout system would be likely to improve the accuracy.
Using the experience of the WF44 radar along with the emerging DTL technology, Herb Adler designed the WF2 printout system. This was the first time that the Bureau's radar engineering staff worked with synchro to digital conversion. This resulted in one of the first bench tests providing a 0 -4096 readout instead of the expected 0- 360 before it was realised that binary angle was different to the binary form of decimal degrees.
Though the system was good technically it never was really accepted operationally - reasons are unclear and maybe be a little shortsightedness by the operational fraternity (1)
It is believed the first and only unit served out its time as a WF2 Range Unit Calibrator mainly in New South Wales.(2)
(1) A.L.West (private communications)
(2) P.Copland(private communications)